NFL owners meet in Atlanta to decide 2018 Super Bowl site

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

Credit: Atlanta Falcons


Where the next three Super Bowls will be played:

2015: Glendale, Ariz.

2016: Santa Clara, Calif.*

2017: Houston

* - in San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium, which will open this year.

A decision on where to play the Super Bowl in 2018 will be the main order of business when NFL owners meet Tuesday in Atlanta.

Three cities bidding to host the game — Minneapolis, Indianapolis and New Orleans — will make presentations during the league’s spring meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. The 32 owners then will vote by secret ballot.

Atlanta wasn’t eligible to bid for the Feb. 4, 2018, game because the NFL requires a stadium to be open for two football seasons before it can host a Super Bowl. The new Falcons stadium is scheduled to open in 2017, making the 2019 Super Bowl the first it would be eligible to host. The NFL is expected to take bids for the 2019 game next year, and Falcons owner Arthur Blank previously has said he expects Atlanta to bid.

Like the Falcons, the Minnesota Vikings are in the process of building a new stadium with the help of hundreds of millions of public dollars. The Vikings hope their new stadium — an indoor facility slated to open in 2016 — will prompt NFL owners to vote for wintry Minneapolis as the site of the 2018 Super Bowl.

The NFL has a track record of awarding Super Bowls to cities that put public money into new stadiums, even those in cold-weather climates, although not always in the first year a venue is eligible.

Minneapolis, which hosted its only Super Bowl in 1992 in the now-demolished Metrodome, faces strong competition for the 2018 game.

New Orleans has hosted the game 10 times, tied with Miami for the most, and hopes to convince NFL owners that the game should return to kick off the city’s 300th birthday celebration in 2018. New Orleans also has the advantage of being by far the warmest-weather city of the three contenders.

On the other hand, New Orleans’ 39-year-old Superdome is by far the oldest stadium bidding for the game. It most recently hosted the Super Bowl in 2013, when the game was delayed for 34 minutes in the third quarter by a power outage.

Indianapolis’ six-year-old retractable-roof stadium was the site of the 2012 Super Bowl, and the city drew favorable reviews for its handling of the event.

Sites already have been chosen for the next three Super Bowls. The 2015 game will be in Glendale, Ariz., the 2016 game at the new San Francisco 49ers stadium that opens this year in Santa Clara, Calif., and the 2017 game in Houston.

Aside from the Super Bowl vote, the NFL said the agenda for its one-day meeting here includes “reports and discussion on a wide range of football and league business matters.” Topics of discussion will include expansion of the playoffs to 14 teams and the date/site of next year’s draft, although votes aren’t currently scheduled on either of those issues.